Wednesday 22 February 2012: On a Needle's point
Whenever I walk out to the end of the cliff and peer down on the tip of Needle Rock and see these gulls jostling for position, I think of the belief that mediaeval scholars would argue about how many angels could dance on the point of a needle.
Now I find it's a well-worn spoof making mock of those ancient theologians, in particular the 13th century philosopher Thomas Aquinas, a myth which has has been quoted and repeated many times according to the excellent Straight Dope explanation.
It was a wet day wet and in the misty air the gulls were calling, wheeling and swooping like white darts as they begin to size up nesting ledges and crevices in the cliffs. The point of the Needle, a stack some 130 feet high, is a favoured, if windswept, position that requires some balletic landing and take-off techniques from its residents.